This was our second cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. Our first ever cruise was with Celebrity in March 2013, it was..... Fantastic!!! The crew were friendly, the food was outstanding and the service was impeccable .
This time around , we were sorely disappointed. The crew members were not as friendly, and in particular, the staff in Cellar Masters were downright rude. It was our formal night so we dressed appropriately (there were 3 of us), all through the daily page there are tidbits about the "excellent service in Cellar Master, come have a glass of wine before dinner, have a glass of wine after dinner and relax"... We seated ourselves in a comfy little area, there were 2 other couples seated nearby, the server walked by us several times with no acknowledgments towards us. Several young ladies came in and sat across the room and were served immediately, again the server walked by our table with not so much as a "I'll be right with you " nor a smile. At this point, I walked over to the bar and attempted to gain the servers attention(there was never more than one wait staff person there the whole cruise). I asked the server for service and he proclaimed that " I would have to wait "as he was by himself. I added the fact that he had walked by us several times without an acknowledgment and he replied that he had not, I then asked for a manager, whom never came. Needless to say we were very disappointed.
The ship seemed over crowded and it was nearly impossible to get a chair poolside. Patrons were securing their chairs with towels and flip flops at 8 am , and the chairs would remain empty until around 10:30 - 11:00 am, the pool butlers did not attempt to free up the chairs for guests who were present and wanting a chair. This was also much different last cruise, the pool butler would allow items to remain on the chair for about 40 minutes and then they would free up the chair for the waiting guests. Again, a disappointment for us.
The dining experience was so-so this time around. I have a dietary need, and conveyed this prior to sailing as we had our first cruise. I had contacted Celebrity to let them know I would again need the gluten free menu upon sailing, they stated they noted my account and I would have no problems. Wow! Understatement! The first night there is some expectations for a little chaos and unorganization, we overlooked the confusion and I ordered a simple salad and potatoe. On the previous cruise, I was given the next days menu, made my selections and the chef made the necessary preparations with no interruptions or issues seen by us. This cruise, we had to contact guest services 3 times before anyone would acknowledge that I had pre requested the gluten free menu. We were told by several wait staff to " just choose something that I thought would be ok" .
The drink package, we chose the premium package, no issues there. The only issue with getting a drink poolside was that the full service bar pool deck is located in the corner next to the smoking section. So, as non smokers we felt slighted that we had to endure the numerous smokers and the smoke to obtain a drink. The bar, is not a designated "smoking area" but the staff did nothing to have the smokers sit away from the bar rather than parking on the stools at the bar ring and smoking the day away.
The stateroom. We chose an inside stateroom, it was very clean and well stocked. Our room attendant Domingo, was very courteous and attentive, he was the only staff member to say hello in the hallways to every guest.
The on board entertainment, was also just okay. It's to be expected on a cruise ship I suppose. But again, people were saving whole rows for other members of their party and some never even showed. The staff didn't try to enforce the no saving more than 2 seat rule.
All in all, the cruise was an 8 on the 1-10 scale. Friendliness and attentiveness really need to be taken up several notches. The ship was updated and is always very clean. The captain did a good job every morning with his announcements, the activities director had events planned , but we had some foul weather and there was not a backup activity planned for the bad weather, just cancellations, so that left many guests twiddling their thumbs at times. They definitely need more wait staff , we had to wait to even get a bottle of water everywhere we went. They also have a posted dress code for daily wear, evening wear and pool deck attire, believe me, they did not enforce it this time around. Our formal night dinner table had ladies in shorts and t-shirts, a gentleman in cut off denim shorts and a t-shirt and flip flops, it's very aggravating for those of us that play by the rules.
My recommendations for Celebrity would be to ; A. Hire more wait staff and insist on them being friendly and approachable. B. Enforce the rules on saving chairs , wether it's poolside or in the theater. C. Move the smoking section to the opposite corner of the pools bar, don't make the non smokers and children suffer the effects of second hand smoke. D. ENFORCE the dress code, especially on formal night. And, have the crew more visible and asking guests if everything is going well or if there are issues.